Tag Archive: drums


The Tennin

Painting by Zeng Hao

“The Tennin’s themes are protection and anti-theft.  Their symbols are drums and feathers.  These semi divine beings are a kind of angel in Buddhist tradition. They like to make music, and their singing voices are as lovely as their stunning visages. Art renderings show them wearing feathered robes and sprouting wings a bit like oversized sylphs. On this day they join their voices to our celebration and wrap us in wings of safety.

Follow Japanese conventions of the Furukawa Matsuri festival and go through your home or entire town making as much noise as possible by banging pots, blowing horns, ringing bells. This protects you from the threat of thievery and unwanted ghostly visitations, as well singing sacred songs that draw the Tennin’s attention and aid. A flurry of lantern lighting or in our case, lamp lighting often accompanies this activity, to shine a light on the darkness and reclaim the night with divine power.

To remember the Tennin specifically and invite their protective energy, put a lightweight item (like a silk scarf, a sheer curtain, or something else with diaphanous qualities) in the region that needs guarding. Put on a tape, record, or CD of vocal music (or sing yourself), and they will come. To protect yourself, carry a feather in your purse or wallet.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Tennin which may include tenshi (lit. heavenly messenger) and the specifically female tennyo are spiritual beings found in Japanese Buddhism that are similar to western angels, nymphs or fairies.  They were imported from Chinese Buddhism, which was influenced itself by concepts of heavenly beings found in Indian Buddhism and Chinese Taoism.

Tennin are mentioned in Buddhist sutras, and these depictions form the basis for depictions of the beings in Japanese art, sculpture and theater.  They are usually pictured as unnaturally beautiful women dressed in ornate, colorful kimonos (traditionally in five colors), exquisite jewelry, and flowing scarves that wrap loosely around their bodies.  They usually carry lotus blossoms as a symbol of enlightenment or play musical instruments such as the biwa or flute.

Tennin are believed to live in the Buddhist heaven as the companions of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.  Some legends also make certain tennin solitary creatures living on mountain peaks. Pilgrims sometimes climb these mountains in order to meet the holy spirits.

Painting by Cheryl Kirk Noll

Tennin can fly, a fact generally indicated in art by their colored or feathered kimonos, called hagoromo (‘dress of feathers’).  In some legends, tennin are unable to fly without these kimonos (and thus cannot return to heaven).  More rarely, they are shown with feathered wings.  In a Noh play, Hagoromo, which bears a number of similarities to the western Swan Maiden legends, tennyo come down to the earth and take off their hagoromo.  A fisherman spies them and hides their clothes in order to force one to marry him.  After some years, he tells his wife what he did, and she finds her clothes and returns to heaven.  The legend says it occured on the beach of Miyo, now part of the city of Shizuoka.” [1]

"Heaven Song" by Jia Lu

 

This sounds very much like one of the versions of the story of the Chinese Goddess Chihnu and  Niu-Lang.  One version of Her tale asserts that Chihnu came down to Earth and had Her clothes stolen while She bathed in a river. The culprit was Niu-Lang, a humble cowherd who was amazed at Her beauty and fell instantly in love.

Without Her clothes She could not return to Heaven. So She decided to marry him instead as he was sweet and gentle, and not bad looking for a mortal and had two children with him.  Seven years later She found Her clothes. Some say that She returned to Heaven on Her own accord, others say Heaven found out eventually, and whisked Her off to the stars…

 

 

Sources:

Wikipedia, “Tennin“.

 

Suggested Links:

OnMark Productions.com, “Japanese Buddhism – Apsaras, Celestial Beings, Heavenly Maidens & Musicians, Tennyo, Karyobinga“.

Goddess Maheswari

“Maheswari’s themes are protection, overcoming and prayer.  Her symbols are masks, drums and prayer wheels.  An epic mother-Goddess figure in the Hindu pantheon and a protective aspect of Lakshmi, Maheswari hears our prayers for assistance in risky, threatening, or seemingly impossible situations. When your back’s to the wall, Maheswari opens a doorway for a clever, smooth exit.

Consider following the Indian custom of dancing to drums while masked and enacting a pantomime in which you victoriously overcome some negativity in your life. If you’re trying to quit smoking, for example, dance over your cigarettes and destroy them. To overcome a broken heart, jump over a paper heart, then carry it with you to manifest Mahesvari’s life-affirming energy in your heart.

A fun version of the Buddhist prayer wheel can be fashioned from a children’s pinwheel. Write your prayers to Maheswari on the blades of the wheel. Then focus on your intent and blow! The movement releases your prayers so Maheswari can begin answering them.

Finally, find something that can act as a drum in this spell for protection and victory. Sprinkle the head of your makeshift drum lightly with rosemary and powdered cinnamon. Then tap it, saying:

 ‘Away, away, Maheswari, take the problems away.’

Continue until the herbs have been cleared off completely, symbolically clearing away that obstacle.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Shiva (leftmost) with the Matrikas: (from left) Brahmani, Maheshvari, Kaumari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Indrani, Chamunda.

“Goddess Maheshwari is one among the seven mother Goddesses or Sapta Matrikas.  Matrikas (Sanskrit: lit. ‘The Mothers’), also called Matara and Matris, are a group of Hindu Goddesses who are always depicted together.  Since they are usually depicted as a heptad,  (Sanskrit: ‘Seven Mothers’): Brahmani, Vaishnavi, Maheshvari, Indrani, Kaumari, Varahi, and Chamunda or Narasimhi.  However, they may sometimes be eight (Ashtamatrikas: ‘Eight Mothers’).  Whereas in South India, Saptamatrika is prevalent, the Ashtamtrika are venerated in Nepal.” [1]

The Sri Chakra, frequently called the Sri Yantra.

“In the scheme of the Khadgamala, each of these Eight Mothers represent a human passion that must be overcome and controlled before we can enter further into Sri Chakra. We worship each passion as an aspect of Devi, then internalize it; and when we internalize each deity, we *become* Her, so that She is not separate from us. In that way, we “conquer” each passion, just as – in the first enclosure wall – we conquered each siddhi.

MAheshwari here represents Her subtle aspect as ANGER.” [2]

 

 

 

“The Matrikas assume paramount significances in the Goddess-oriented sect of Hinduism, Tantraism.  In Shaktism, they are ‘described as assisting the great Shakta Devi (Goddess) in Her fight with demons.’  Some scholars consider them Shaiva Goddesses.  They are also connected with the worship of the warrior god Skanda.

The Seven Matrikas

In most early references, the Matrikas are described as having inauspicious qualities and often described as dangerous. They come to play a protective role in later mythology, although some of their inauspicious and wild characteristics still persist in these accounts.  Thus, they represent the prodigiously fecund aspect of nature as well as its destructive force aspect.” [3]

"Goddess Rudrani (Shodash Matrikas) by Rabi Behera

The Goddess Maheshwari is the power of the god Shiva, also known as Maheshvara.  Maheshvari is also known by the names Raudri, Rudrani and Maheshi, derived from Shiva’s names Rudra and Mahesh. The vehicle or Vahana of Goddess Maheswari is Nandi (the bull).  Goddess Maheswari is usually depicted as having four arms – two arms are in Varada Mudra (granting wishes) and one is in Abhaya Mudra (protection) and two arms are depicted as holding the Sula (lance) and a Akshamala or a Damaru.  The white complexioned, Trinetra (three eyed) Goddess holds similar weapons to Shiva and has numerous other symbols and characteristics of Shiva: when She is depicted with six arms, She carries a Trishula (trident), Damaru (drum), Akshamala (a garland of beads), Panapatra (drinking vessel) or axe or an antelope or a kapala (skull bowl) or a serpent and is adorned with serpent bracelets; and two hands are in the Varada Mudra and the Abhaya Mudra.  Sometimes She is shown wearing a crescent moon and the jaṭā mukuṭa (a headress formed of piled, matted hair).  In some very rare images, Goddess Maheshwari is depicted as having five face.  [4] [5]

 

 

 

Sources:

Rajendran, Abhilash. Hindu Blog, “Goddess Maheshwari“.

Shakti Sadhana Org,  “Maheshwari Devi“.

Wikipedia, “Matrikas“.


Suggested Links:

Divine Downloads, “Sapta Matrukas – Divine Mothers“.

Exotic India, “Conception and Evolution of the Mother Goddess in India“.

Jai Maa Vaishnavi.com, “51 Shakti Peethas of Maa Durga – Maa Sati, Dakshayani| Jai Maa Vaishnavi“.

Krishnaraj, Veeraswamy. “The Saktas“.

Omsakthi.org, “Supreme Goddess Adhiparasakthi and the Seven Goddesses“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Kamala“.

Sri Chinmoy Library, “Will You Speak About the Divine…

Write Spirit, “Maheshwari“.

Wikipedia, “Goddess Maheshwari“.

Wikipedia, “Shakti“.

Wikisource.org, “The Bhagavad Gita (Telang translation)/Chapter 12“.

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